Since being here I've come to the following conclusions about myself and, more generally, life:
- One night stands are fun for a certain type of person. I am not that type of person. I need more than a physical connection. I've also found that they tend to be rather sad affairs, everybody has baggage, and this baggage becomes pretty evident during one nighters. It's amazing the things that come out of the mouths of men in these situations. I'm going back to my previous policy from now on, no one nighters (unless Henry Cavill begs me to sleep with him, but can only do one night, maybe then). Having said all of this, I wouldn't take any of the three back, they were learning experiences. They taught me I'm not cut out for them.
- Never allow yourself to fall in love with someone that you can't have. It will tear you to shreds, and you will be terribly sad for as long as that love lasts.
- Running away does not really solve all of life's bigger issues, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. Escapism is still a huge part of my personality, and I will stubbornly refuse to get my head out of books or the vivid imagination they have contributed to. I will live here forever, and hope for the best.
- Honesty is still the best policy. Always be upfront with people, mainly men, even when they're not willing to pay you the same courtesy. At the end of the day you come out the better person who didn't need to resort to games to get their own way.
- Assess what you really want from a romantic relationship and accept the fact that no one person will ever satisfy your every whim. That's why friends and family are so important, they fill in the gaps in your life.
- Don't settle for less than what you feel you deserve, but be open to the fact that the person that might be perfect for you won't necessarily be the most obvious one. And this leads to always giving people a chance.
In summary, Irish men and their strange habits of courtship have led me to a realisation of everything that I value most in life, and how important these values are. Thank you to the men of Ireland for being strange, exotic, handsome, confusing and confused, sentimental, self-deprecating, romantic in the worst possible way, and, most of all, great craic. You've shown me the value of difference, but also made me look on my own more fondly. I think I'm ready for an Australian man now, I hope that one is ready for me.
B. J. Barnes